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Obesity Contributed to Increase in New Diabetes Cases

New diagnoses among U.S. adults jumped 41 percent between 1997 and 2003

FRIDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity was in large part to blame for a 41 percent increase in new diabetes cases diagnosed between 1997 and 2003 in U.S. adults, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Linda S. Geiss, M.A., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey to evaluate seven-year trends in new diabetes diagnoses in adults between the ages of 18 and 79.

The researchers found that between 1997 and 2003, new diabetes diagnoses surged 41 percent, from 4.9 per 1,000 people to 6.9 per 1,000. New cases increased in men, women, whites, high school graduates, non-smokers, people who exercise, those who do not exercise and obese people.

Obesity emerged as a greater risk factor for new diagnoses from 2002-2003 versus 1997-1998, the researchers report. The increase in cases was associated with greater age and body mass index.

"Obesity was a major factor in the recent increase of newly diagnosed diabetes," the authors write. "Lifestyle interventions that reduce or prevent the prevalence of obesity among persons at risk for diabetes are needed to halt the increasing incidence of diabetes."

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